As much as you want all parts of your home to last forever, eventually, things will reach the end of their lifespan and will need to be replaced. Your siding will start to fade, your gutters may show signs of sagging, and your roof can lose its luster and sheen. The more years your roofing system has under its belt, the more prone it becomes to certain elements.
While roofing manufacturers and homeowners are still searching for that perfect permanent roofing material, Mother Nature will still continue to throw everything she’s got at your roof. Knowing the most common natural causes of problems can help you prepare your roof better to face regular wear and tear.
Ultraviolet (UV) Rays
Windstorms may happen once or twice a year, and heavy snow days can wreak havoc on your system only during the winter, the sun’s UV rays continue to beat down on your shingles every day from dawn to dusk. UV radiation slowly breaks down the chemical bonds that hold most roofing materials together, eating away at your roof one molecule at a time. It may take years before you see the first signs of a problem, but as your roof ages, the effects become more prominent.
Unfortunately, there is no way to shield your roof against UV rays. Certain roof coating products can add a year or two to the service life of your roof, but even they will eventually be dried out by the sun. Common symptoms of UV damage include cracked and brittle shingles, and loss of granulation.
Another element that takes its time inflicting damage on your residential roofing system is wind. Most modern roofing systems are designed to withstand high winds, and several installation techniques take wind lift into consideration. However, like UV rays, the damage strong winds can cause may take years to surface, but problems will still eventually start to occur.
Regular maintenance and inspections can alert you of the early signs of wind damage. Repairing affected shingles individually is possible and can extend the life of your roof by a few more years. However, extensive wind damage on an old roof will usually call for a full roof replacement.
Snow and Ice
During the cold days of winter, snow and ice are the number one enemy of both your roof and your gutter installation. Firing up your furnace will heat up the interiors of your roof, which could cause some of the snow to melt and flow down the panels and into your gutters. On particularly cold days, this runoff can freeze again even before it reaches your eavestroughs. When it does, it can stop melted snow from flowing freely, forming what is known as an ice dam.
Ice dams are dangerous because they expose your roof constantly to water. Seasonal gutter cleaning can slow down the damage of ice dams, but the need for this service becomes more and more frequent the older your roof gets. Over time, it will be more practical to simply replace the roof than to patch it up constantly whenever problems occur.
Uncontrolled water can cause a lot of damage to any part of your home, including your aging residential roofing system. While roofing materials are designed to withstand torrential rains, they are not completely invulnerable to water damage. Standing water can even penetrate asphalt shingles simply through exposure alone. Leaks are one of the most serious problems any roof can have. If your roof is showing signs of a leak, you have to call your local roofing contractor immediately.
The best way to combat the effects of water is by using proper drip edge flashing and general flashing to cover up the areas most vulnerable to water penetration. Regular inspections can also help with early identification of water-damaged structures like support beams and rafters. Try to avoid excessive water from getting into your roofing system because it can also lead to the spread and growth of mold and mildew. Some varieties of mold can even be hazardous to your family’s health.
Humidity and Condensation
Water problems typically take the form of humidity and condensation. The hot and humid air that comes from inside your home often ends up on the roof where it condenses into water droplets. Over time, these condensation issues can build up and saturate the roofing system from the inside. This is particularly dangerous for older roofs as they have more parts that are more susceptible to corrosion and water damage.
The best way to prevent condensation problems is to allow the humid air a way to exit your roof safely. This is done using proper ventilation, with vents installed either on the ridge of the roof, the soffits or both. If you’re considering replacing your aging roof, make sure to discuss with your contractor installing ridge and soffit vents to give your roof and your attic adequate ventilation.
Flora and Fauna
Of course, a list of natural roofing problems wouldn’t be complete without including trees and pests. During fall, nearby trees can leave huge amounts of leaves and debris on your roof and in your gutters. This can cause clogging, which then extends to other more serious problems.
Additionally, animals like woodpeckers, squirrels and, sometimes, even insects can build their nests in your attic and your roof. While this may not be their fault entirely, they can still cause a lot of damage to the structure of your roof. Colonies of insects in particular can be difficult to exterminate once they’ve bunkered down in your roofing system.
Resolving Natural Problems
Experts recommend getting regular maintenance visits for your roof at least once every three to five years. For aging roofs, this can be increased to once every year, with occasional seasonal checkups. Unfortunately, this, along with some good practices on caring for your roof, are the only ways to combat the effects of aging.
The decision to keep maintaining an old roof or to replace it entirely is up to you as a homeowner. Whatever route you take, our professionals at Northeast Gutters and Remodeling can help you every step of the way. Give us a call at (860) 899-7878, or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation and request a free estimate on roofing services today.